Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It was a dark and stormy night... (part 1)

The story of my labor and delivery--according to how I remember it.

*I'm sure it's a fairly accurate account, but since I had my eyes closed and was willing myself into a state of unconsciousness for the last two hours of the experience, I may have missed a few things.
**This story will be very lengthy and contain mindless details, but its my blog and I'll ramble if I want to.

Anyway. Last Tuesday night was a dark and stormy night. The Dallas area was being inundated with rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine. I was awake for much of the night with some cramping off and on, and every time I woke up it was pouring down rain. I was also awake because my mind was racing--was I in the very early stages of labor? Was I ever going to have this baby? Was she okay in there?

Let me back up a few hours. Tuesday morning I went to the doctor again. I was 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant. If you are reading my blog then you know that this constitutes a miracle in and of itself. We were amazed. My doctor was amazed! I had been planning from the first time I saw the doctor for this pregnancy in January to attempt a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). VBACs carry an increased risk of uterine rupture and the medications used in inductions further increase that risk. Therefore, my doctor was adamant that he was not inducing me. I either needed to go into labor on my own or have a repeat c-section.

At Tuesday's appointment, my doctor said I was 3 cm dilated and 100% effaced. He offered to schedule a "pseudo-induction" where he would have me check into the hospital Thursday morning and he would rupture my amniotic sac. In theory, this should cause labor to start and I would have the baby without the extra risk of induction meds. I was so excited to have a plan and at the prospect of no longer being pregnant that I immediately agreed. Of course, when I talked things over with Brian I started to analyze all the "what ifs". I knew that if the doctor broke my water and I didn't start contracting after a certain number of hours, then I would have to have a c-section anyway. So, after scheduling my induction for 6 am Thursday and calling my parents and telling them to head up sometime Wednesday, I changed my mind. I know. How annoying. Of course I changed my mind after my doctor's office was already closed Tuesday so I planned to call Wednesday morning to cancel the induction.

So after my long, restless and crampy Tuesday night, I woke up fairly early on Wednesday morning and told Brian I felt like I might be having contractions, but they didn't seem too regular. Brian kept getting ready for work, and I stayed in bed and started timing the contractions. They seemed to be 5-7 minutes apart and lasting for about 30 seconds. Around 7:30 Brian decided to try to work from home instead of going in to the office. He had a couple of meetings he needed to call in for, and he had a 4:00 meeting at a building near our house that he was going to try to attend.

Throughout the morning my contractions came and went. It continued raining, and much of central and north Texas were experiencing flooding. My parents debated about coming up--I was worried that my dad would take off of work and leave and it would turn out to be a false alarm, but I was also worried that they wouldn't make it up if things moved too quickly. They decided to leave around 5 pm. Brian called and asked his mom to come hang out with me and Reid while he was on a 2:00 teleconference and went to his 4:00 meeting.

I had contacted our doula and birth photographer, Elizabeth, Wednesday morning, and she predicted that I'd probably continue to have intermittent contractions throughout the day, and my labor would probably intensify once I went to bed that night. Things seemed to be following this pattern so I had decided to wait until late that afternoon to take a shower and fix my hair. I wanted to be "ready" when I went into labor. After Brian's mom arrived, I decided to try to nap. I was on our bed resting but not sleeping. I couldn't get comfortable so I decided to roll over onto my other side (no small feat when you are that pregnant!). As I rolled over I felt a "pop", thought my water was breaking and jumped out of bed to try to get over the bathroom tile (you can thank me later, Brian--our bed actually stayed completely dry). I made it to the bathroom before the rush of fluid started. I briefly wondered if my water had really broken or if I was just completely losing bladder control, but seconds later my first real contraction hit and I actually fell down to the floor on my hands and knees. The intensity of it surprised and scared me.

I was about to yell for Brian, but just then he walked into our bedroom to check on me before leaving for his meeting. I believe it was just after 3 pm at this point. I told him I thought my water had broken, and he could tell by my expression that I wasn't messing around. I told him to call our doctor's office and Elizabeth, and I quickly changed clothes while cursing myself for not having taken a shower earlier. I thought about taking the time to shower quickly, but when the next contraction hit that thought quickly vanished! I was so thankful that Brian's mom was already there taking care of Reid. I tried very hard to act completely normal and not get overly emotional when telling Reid goodbye. He definitely sensed that something was going on, and he was crying and very upset when we left (which of course broke my heart!). We had actually just picked up our new Chevy Traverse at the dealership on Tuesday night. We planned on getting leather interior, but they had exactly what we were looking for with cloth interior. We planned to take the car back in later in the week to get leather seats installed so we weren't overly worried about my riding in the brand new car :)

Brian and I drove from Allen to Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, and I was so thankful that it was not rush hour. As soon as we got in the car, I called my parents to let them know what had happened. They had actually seen a break in the weather and decided to leave early. Turns out they were pulling out of the driveway when I called! We tuned into Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket for a little taste of our normal lives. I continued having fairly strong contractions in the car, and I remember telling Brian that I just wanted to get checked into the hospital and regroup. I was planning on natural, drug-free childbirth, and I felt like I just needed to get to a labor and delivery room and try to relax and focus.

Once we arrived at the hospital, I asked Brian to go in and get a wheelchair. In case you didn't know (and I had heard this but never appreciated the full extent of it), when your water breaks it is not a one-time event. The supply continues to replenish thus it continues to flow...and flow...and flow. Next to the pain of contractions, the continual gushing of fluid probably stressed me out the most. I just felt so out of control! All that to say, there was no way I was walking in to the hospital admitting area with fluid leaking out of me. Eww.

Brian pushed me into the hospital in a wheelchair, and I sat through all the stupid questions and paperwork while leaking fluid and breathing through contractions. The charge nurse asked me if I was sure my water had broken. When she wheeled me into the L&D room and I got out of the wheelchair she got her answer. The moment I got out of the wheelchair and tried to change into the hospital gown was also the moment that things started to move very quickly...


Cassie said...

LOVE LOVE this! So excited for you guys! Proud of your VBAC! Isn't it crazy how they make you do all the stupid "are you wearing contacts?" questions WHILE in major labor! They just aren't used to people coming in when they are actually in labor these days... My doula had to tell the nurse 3 times that I was already 7 cm and get me a room!! The nurse kept asking, "Are you sure you're having contractions? How do you know you are 7 cm?" My doula is also a midwife and she kept saying, "I checked." Finally she had to say, "Look, I am a midwife and I checked her 30 minutes ago and she is 7 cm!!" I really wanted to tell her, "I don't fake contractions in front of perfect strangers just for fun...."

Elizabeth Boyce said...

Dude. You are just going to leave me hanging like that? Killing me, woman! ;)

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